Tag Archive for yard

Chainsaws

The weather begins to warm up and that means yard work.  Last year we plowed up a large chunk of the back yard and planted grass since previous actions had ruined most of it.  (Pro tip: putting a large tarp on a section of your yard for a couple of weeks actually kills all the grass under it.)  The grass has done very well and I look forward to doing a bit of reseeding to fill in the few patches here and there that exist.  With the chunk of grass out of the way, the next phase begins, which is tree removal.

Now, I like trees.  I hate pine trees and sweetgum trees.  The reasons I hate those two sorts of trees is as follows.  Pine trees are very tall, provide no useful shade, and shed pine straw and pine cones, neither of which I want in my yard.  Leaves are fairly easy to clean up with a rake or a blower.  Pine straw is a pain in the ass to clean up, which is probably why people use it for ground cover, since it sticks to the ground so well.  Sweetgums, on the other hand, have these little tiny smaller-than-a-golf-ball sized pine cones which I prefer to think of as booby traps.  They drop off the tree, hide in the grass, waiting for you to come along barefoot and cripple you.  These nefarious trees bring us to our topic: chainsaws.

Cutting down trees with a chainsaw is awesome… as long as you judge the height of the tree properly and you don’t destroy your fence.  I haven’t destroyed my fence yet, and don’t plan to, but I am fully aware that it could happen.  Eventually I’ll have to pay someone to come get the big pines because I’m not about to scale a hundred foot or taller tree and begin taking it down in sections.  For now though, I’m taking down all the little ones.  But I’ve come to realize that despite being in decent shape and actually working out daily, managing a chainsaw requires a completely different set of muscles than pretty much everything else in my live.  After a short period of cutting, my arms feel like jello from the strain and vibration.  The yard is getting clear, however, so the price is worth it.

I can’t wait to borrow the neighbor’s chipper to cut up all these branches.  Also, since we’ll have so much wood we can’t chip, I’m thinking we’ll need to have a whole bunch of bonfire parties.

Welcome to 2011

I don’t like making predictions, but for fun I’ll make a couple now as I talk about the year to come…

2011 is going to be the best year ever … for someone, and maybe that someone will be you, so get excited at the possibilities!

2011 is going to be the worst year ever … for someone, and on the bright side with the likelihood that the world’s population is going to cross 7 billion at some point in the next twelve months, the odds are totally in your favor that it won’t be you, so get excited at the probabilities!

It’s going to hurt. This year will contain pain, both physical and emotional.  From stubbing your toe yet again in the dark on the coffee table that has been in the same place for as long as you can remember yet you still seem to forget that it is there to the soul crushing defeat of realizing that you will be unable to get out of debt, for yet another year, 2011 will be filled to the brim with pains both big and small.

It’s going to feel good. Outside of all the pain, you’ll have a (fairly) happy birthday, and you’ll give some gifts to that make people happy which will make you happy which makes them happy and we will all spiral off into a happiness whirlwind.  You will sing (probably when you are alone) and you will dance (probably when you are alone) and you will laugh so hard that you will pee, just a little, in your pants (hopefully when you are alone).  2011 will be full of joy and love and family and friends, and despite all your best efforts to sabotage it, it’s going to be a good one.

Most of all, though, 2011 is going to be a year. Three hundred and sixty-five days of being.  I guarantee that at least one of those days will make you lose all hope and at least one of those days will make you feel warm and happy from the tips of your toenails to the hair on your head (or just to your scalp if you don’t happen to have hair on your head).  No matter how good it gets, it can’t last forever so don’t forget to plan for rainy days, and no matter how bad it gets, it can’t last forever either so keep an eye out for rays of light.

For myself, in the new year I really don’t have much in the way of goals.  I plan simply to keep on keeping on.  I exercise a little each day, I eat (mostly) better than I used to, and I write.  My only real plan is to just do more of the same.  Looking back at last year’s first post:

  • I went the whole year without gaining back weight, but I didn’t lose any more.  While an accomplishment of note, I do need to keep losing, so as I said more of the same.  The plan is good, I just need to step it up a notch.
  • I did get a netbook, and I did write more.  I won the NaNoWriMo (though was disappointed in the win).  I do watch less TV shows, but it hasn’t really turned into more writing.  I need to work on that last bit.
  • I didn’t finish any of my coding projects, but I made progress.  Mostly, my business efforts in the last year resulting in redoing the website, fixing the forums and theme, and putting out the first draft of our first service that I’ve given absolutely no publicity to (I didn’t even blog about it).  I was very nervous about that, hence the no publicity, but simply having it out there makes me feel better.
  • And I did clean up the yard.  In fact, we plowed up a huge chunk of it and planted new grass, which has come in quite nicely.  I’m no longer ashamed of my backyard.  Also, we cut down one tree, and my next door neighbor is having a crew take down some others between our houses.  It is inspiring enough that this year I might actually finish clearing the back yard.

As you can see, I really mean it.  For the next year I just want to stay level or do more of what I’m already doing.  No need to break new ground or start new ventures.  No need to radically change my life.  So I don’t have much in the way of resolutions this year except to make a concerted effort not to backslide.

Finally, as this first morning of the year approaches noon and moves on into late day and onward into the rest of the year, I leave you with this one piece of advice, the single best paraphrasing of the Golden Rule ever conceived:  Be excellent to each other.

Happy New Year!

200

It has been very close for a while now, but I finally hit the mark, and maintained it for a few days (maintaining is the key).  Two hundred pounds.

The best part about this is that I am doing it slow and steady.  I’m watching my diet, but I don’t feel like I’m starving or cheating myself.  I’m exercising, but I don’t feel like I’m “working out”.  I’m just getting leaner, and stronger, and feeling better.  I don’t think I would ever actually want to do one of those crash diet and exercise programs where you lose fifty pounds in two weeks because I don’t think I’d actually keep the weight off.  But the way I am approaching it, breaking one bad habit at a time and instilling one good habit at a time, it feels good and I doubt I’ll have trouble sticking with it.

I’m still doing my 100 push-ups and 100 sit-ups daily (most of the time, some days I skip but I’d like to think I still hit 5 days a week).  Before spring got here I was doing a cardio step thing once a week, but I’ve since replaced it with mowing the lawn and other yard work.  I use a push reel mower for the lawn.  Look it up, you’ll think I’m crazy.  But crazy like a fox…  I’m to the point now where I’ll keep the yard work and try to add a cardio bit somewhere in the middle of the week.

Anyway, that’s all I’ve got for now.  199, here I come…

Hello 2009!

Welcome 2009.  I am really glad to see you, as long as you turn out to be better than 2008.  Sure, 2008 started off well enough, there were even several pleasant points, but then like the bitch that she is 2008 turned on me.  Fuck you 2008!  Fuck!  You!

So, 2009, since 2008 has left me unemployed and broke, I’m hoping you can help me out.  Speak sweat nothings to me, 2009.  Tell me that everything is going to be alright…

Anyway, looking back at the start of 2008, I did indeed write less checks, I did continue to play betas and not buy MMOs, I did play more console games, there were more superhero books, and business did look good right up until the train wreck that has been the last three months of the year.  Looking as my resolutions… well, I did rake the yard once and I bagged some leaves because Georgia didn’t lift its burn ban, but right now the back yard is nothing but leaves.  I did not build the bar, mostly because I never had the extra cash to buy counter tops.  But I did manage to buy a lot less crap this year than I have in previous years because Netflix is awesome.  With their streaming service and our media PC, and now using the Xbox 360, we’ve watched tons of movies without buying very many at all.  Essentially, for the price of one new DVD a month ($15), we get to watch unlimited streamed movies and rotate 2 physical discs through the mail.  We did buy more books this year than previous years, but we spent far less on books that we would have on DVDs.

Oh, and Fred Thompson did not become President, so I did not eat my hat.

Where do I see 2009 going?  Well… I’m still looking for work, so I’ll be spending all of January trying to find a good job.  If I make it to the end of January without finding a good one, I will find a bad one.  2009 looks like its going to be a rebuilding year, like 2001.  After a period of unemployment, I’ll wind up taking a job I don’t want that I’m far overqualified for and begin to slowly claw my way back up the wage ladder.  My first ladder climb lasted 4 years… this one lasted 8… so maybe my next climb will last 16 and I won’t be unemployed again until I’m 50.  Or maybe I’ll do something else… we’ll just have to wait and see…

Another Year Over

2006 draws to an end tonight, and I’ll be celebrating with family and friends, as I hope you all are.

So, looking back, what did this year bring me?

The best thing of the year for me is easy… I bought a house. Sure, I saddled myself with a mortgage that I’ll likely be paying for 30 years, but owning a home is just… cool. I have a big back yard and I really look forward to working in it and on it in the coming years. The dog likes the yard too. The house is big… really big. I used to live in a 2 bedroom, 3 floor townhome apartment, and this place puts that thing to shame. Oddly enough, its also cheaper to maintain. My electric, gas and water bills have gone down despite the fact that I have more stuff, a larger place to cool and heat, and a yard to water. Its weird and awesome.

The worst thing of the year… that’s alot tougher. Overall, this has been a pretty good year, but in the end I’d say the worst thing has been having to watch my wife choose between leaving a job that was almost literally killing her and her best friend. Its a huge horrible mess that I won’t go into detail on, but lets just say it was bad. Hopefully next year will bring some healing here.

That’s me… what about you folks? You, if you are reading this, let me know… what was your best and/or worst thing about 2006?

I could go into a long post about events in the world, but mostly the year was pretty sad… this, however, I find disgusting. Please, don’t buy those.

Time Keeps on Slipping Into the Future

It is October 17th. It has been 7 days since my last post. And prior to that my posting has been spotty, at best.

So, what the heck is up with that?

I’ll tell ya… I bought a house a couple months ago, and slowly we’d been fixing up some stuff. Painting rooms, shopping for furnature, and all that stuff. It was, as I indicated, going slow. So, we decided to offer to host a Couple’s Shower for my brother and his future bride, and to throw a Halloween party (hopefully the first of many). With the prospect of having people actually be in our house, we got our butts in gear, painted more rooms, had the yard fenced, cleaned up the yard, built some benches, hung the hammock, re-dug the firepit, bought a kitchen table, cleaned the carpets, organized all our stuff, built shelves… it has been fairly exhausting. But we are down to just three (two and a half really) boxes left to unpack, and those are only remaining because we ran out of time to finish the second set of DVD shelves. On top of that, I’ve been working a bunch lately, and the wife got promoted to Assistant Manager (meaning she’s been working lots as well). And of course we still go out to trivia once or twice a week, every other Saturday table top gaming with the gang, and Sunday dinners with the family.

There just hasn’t been much time for writing. However, by October’s end, much of all that will be out, except for the hanging with friends… but I’ve already planned to abolish all my free time in November with the NaNoWriMo. Hopefully, though, I’ll still find time to write the blog. I have a few interesting thoughts on my “town-centric” game idea that I believe will work out very nicely. Now, I just need to win the lottery and I’m set!

Let the hunting begin!

No, this isn’t a review for some game or anything like that. Jodi and I are looking for a house. Well, we’ve been looking… today was the first time we had the real-estate agent actually take us to a house to look at it first hand. It was pretty nice. Good house, nice yard, 1.2 acres… a bit far from work, but hey, I like the bus and there is one out there too.

But the house hunt has officially begun! Cry havok and let split the puppies of peril! (The dogs of war are stuck in Iraq, so its the best I could do.)

Does Anyone Else Have a Work Ethic Besides Me?

You’ll forgive me if I am repeating myself. I’m too lazy to go back and check my own archives to see if I have ranted about this before, but then, I feel its worth repeating anyway. All this is a bit ironic considering the title and subject. heh heh.

When I was young, or younger depending on how you want to look at it, I was a complete slacker. Even at the tender age of 8 I was standing around while the rest of the family did yard work proudly declairing that I was “supervising” the rest of them. If I could avoid work, I did so.

My grandfather, my father’s father, gave me a tired old piece of advice that I didn’t understand at the time. “Any job worth doing is worth doing well.” Frankly, I didn’t consider yard work worth doing, which is hilarious considering the plans that I have for the yard I will have at the house I will one day own.

Later on, when I took a “real” job after high school, I came to believe and follow this tired piece of advice. I even went so far as to come up with a couple of pieces of “tired” advice myself.

The first: “Any job that pays a decent wage is worth doing.” Its just a logical, for me anyway, extention of the old standard. Basically means what it means that if the job pays okay then its worth doing, and furthermore, worth doing well. Simple.

The second: “Any wage you agree to work for is a decent wage.” Another logical extention. Personally, I won’t work for peanuts. If its not enough to cover my bills I will find something else. So, if I take a job, then I am agreeing to the wage, therefore the wage must be decent, and the job worth doing, and worth doing well.

So why am I writing about all this you may be asking yourself? (and if you aren’t, please pause and ask yourself this now) Sometimes its hard to not hold people to the standards that you hold for yourself. To expect others to live up to your ideals. I have come to the point that I cannot work in a good 95% of the world’s help desks or customer service areas. Other people, and companies in general, just seem to not give a shit. My coworkers tell me to just “let it go” and that its “not your problem”. But… it IS my problem, and its my job to NOT let it go. Its their job too, but they give in to the adversity of the workplace. Every day I seem to pull my hair out
(what little is left) at the bizarre hoops that I must jump through. Things that should take a day, two at most, to resolve take a week. And if someone here says it should be a week, the customer should just cancel service with us because its never going to get done.

There are far too many transfers, changing of hands, and with it all done through an electronic call tracking system problems can sit open for days with no one looking at them, adandonned in the queues. There are too many gaps and holes in the system for it to function with any degree of certainty. Calling this helpdesk is like playing Russian Roulette. It shouldn’t be that way, and with the smallest of effort it wouldn’t be.

Someone, anyone, please. If you know a company that actually cares, that actually provides good complete service to its customers, one that is hiring, send them my way.

7 November 1999

I win.
I got a new webspace provider that gives me alot more for less. 100MB of space, 5GB transfer allowance, 25 pop accounts, unlimited forwarding… all for $20 a month. It rocks.
So I went to a party last night, mostly just a party by a couple of friends, but I found out later that it was doubling as the birthday party for the leader of the Anti-Squadleader Society (or ASS). But fear not… The Squadleader prevailed.
The party wasn’t all about the clash though… it was about drinking, and talking, and being physically attacked. One should never have to yell, “God dammit! She bit me!” Biting can be fun, and playful, especially in foreplay. But unless both participants are willing (or in a fight) there should never be blood drawn. People who get violent (either intentionally or unintentionally) when drunk should not get drunk. You should never ever exceed your limits. Having less control is fine, having no control is not.
And that leads to another incident at the party, and a problem that I have. One girl got sick – too much alcohol. Partly I’d say it was the guy mixing her drinks that did it, but also because occationally this girl doesn’t pay attention to her limits. Well, she gets sick, and I instantly sober up. A buzzkill. All I can think about is making sure she is okay.
I’ve done this before, I do this alot. In fact, the last time was at a party the leader of ASS threw. Great party… up until people started passing out. 11 by night’s end. And one of them almost didn’t make it. One of them stopped breathing, and because I’m the mother hen, I was still up at 8 a.m. when it happened and watching over this moron passed out in the back yard. I didn’t panic, I resusitated him, he puked on my face. And the ASS master who was sleeping when this happened (burned out on drugs) has never said ‘thank you’ for my preventing his getting into deep shit if the moron had died in the back yard.
… breathe in … hold ……… breathe out … calm … centered … peaceful .
Sorry, some things just get me going, and this is still one of those soft spots. One that’s never going to heal until I’m okay with it, because I know that the person who could end this with 2 words… never will.